Mackay 'resources workhorse' for Qld

Click here for photo of QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane.

Click here for Mackay Region resources contribution figures.

More people than ever before in the Greater Mackay region are working in jobs supported by the mining and energy sector, rising by five per cent over the past financial year in the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday LGAs, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said today.

The region is now also home to more people directly employed in the resources sector than any other region in Queensland, pushing Brisbane out of the top spot.

The QRC's latest Economic Contribution report shows the sector now supports around 85,000 jobs in the area, representing almost 80 per cent of total employment.

Of these positions, 18,080 are direct resources employees and the remainder work for businesses servicing the industry including the Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector, contractors, construction, hospitality, financial services and other business operators in the supply chain.

Speaking from Mackay today, QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the region was a modern-day workhorse for the resources sector and for Queensland, with its proximity to the Bowen Basin making it a vital centre for the state.

"The resources sector contributed $18.4 billion to the Mackay region last financial year, representing 91 per cent of Gross Regional Product," he said.

"This demonstrates how important the industry is to the region's economy, and likewise how important the Mackay region is to Queensland.

"It's why we need to continue to attract new investment in new, greenfield resources projects to support continued growth in our sector.

"As mines reach the end of their operating life, we need new resources projects to replace them and keep that pipeline of projects, business opportunities and jobs rolling."

Mr Macfarlane said the State Government's sudden decision last year to impose the world's highest coal royalty taxes without consultation had increased the risk profile of investing in Queensland compared to other mining jurisdictions in Australia and around the world.

He said the industry will continue to call on the State Government to reconsider its decision, which has placed Queensland at a severe disadvantage when competing for investment in new projects.

"There are mine projects literally across the border in New South Wales which are paying much lower royalty taxes than Queensland.

"That's the reality of being an industry driven by private sector investment, the majority of which comes from overseas. Companies have choices about where to invest their capital on behalf of shareholders, who expect a return on that investment.

"Queensland needs to be globally competitive if we are to stay in the mining game."

Mr Macfarlane said the QRC will continue its campaign against the Queensland Government's new coal royalty regime right through to the state election next year.

"We want to make sure every Queenslander knows the true value of the resources sector to their everyday life, and how they will be impacted by slower growth in our sector in the future," he said.

"It's something I'm sure people in the Mackay region are well aware of, given the area's long connection to mining and their previous experience with industry downturns.

"No-one should take for granted the benefits of having a strong resources sector, which last financial year delivered $116.8 billion to the state economy and supported the jobs of more than 532,000 Queenslanders."

The QRC's campaign is currently running on Mackay radio and television stations, in the Daily Mercury and on billboards on the Bruce Highway.

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